The Other BP Spill

June/10/2010 14:49PM
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We all know what’s happening in the Gulf with BP and their glib CEO, Tony Hayward. Tony is the replacement for Lord John Browne, sent packing early when a teenager blew the whistle that Lord Browne was entertaining him with BP transportation and BP expense accounts.

Obama warned Hayward about lawyering up last week after Obama lawyered up. He also stated that BP was going to pay dividends to shareholders. What a travesty. A corporation that had a $23 billion cash flow in the first quarter daring to pay dividends to investors who see the stock price drop daily, especially when Obama or Holder speak. No one is doing enough in the Gulf Coast, but on a comparative basis, BP is doing far more than Obama. It is painfully obvious that Obama would be ill equipped to take that 3AM phone call, just like Hillary warned. He sees a crisis as an imposition. Hayward wants his life back. He’ll probably get it soon with his dismissal.

I wrote in an earlier blog about BP’s poor management practices. There is no question that those practices came into play in many ways in this disaster. And, they show daily, with no plan to deal with the disaster or the public outrage.

Interestingly, in the midst of all the Gulf Coast noise, BP spilled a mere 100,000 gallons from the pipeline in Alaska. shutting down the line and cutting supply down the line. How did it happen? Does this sound familiar? From a From a series of mishaps.

They were conducting a fire test at Pump Station 9. The power outage triggered opening of relief valves causing an unspecified volume of crude oil to overflow a storage tank into a secondary containment. There were no injuries, but the 40 employees were evacuated.

The pipeline carries 667,000 barrels of oil a day. The supply was cut significantly while the tests were done before BP could begin pumping on the line again.

In this case they did two things right, they had a containment vessel and someone knew the tank was overflowing into the containment vessel. See, they are getting better.

When they had their last leak on the pipeline 5 years ago it was due to corrosion. And, it leaked on the ground. Periodically oil pipelines run a smart pig through the line to check for corrosion or leaks. BP had not done that for 14 years. (In pipeline vernacular a pig is a plug that fits into the line with cameras, etc. to inspect the line)

I do believe BP needs to look very hard at their top management and cull the ones who were mentored by Lord Browne and bring in new people who are not tainted by the BP culture. They are arrogant without cause. They are driven by numbers and not common sense. They are typical linear thinking engineers.

Here’s a nice expample. I had a long-time friend at BP who had worked for me at Amoco. He developed a brain tumor. His immediate supervison never once called him, came to see him, or attended his funeral. Nice people they have there at BP. And, you think Tony Hayward doesn’t care about our environment, you would be correct. He cares about keeping his job and he won’t . Sorry, Tony, I won’t there for your funeral either.

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